In 2014, over five millions homes were bought and sold. And according to the Census, there are 120 million homes in the US. Of these 120 millions homes, 70 million are fully owner occupied.
A “physical home” has been well understood for the last few centuries. People intuitively know that a physical home is made up of various structural materials, building materials, equipment, fixtures, and finishes. The real estate process is well defined. As are property laws, transfer ownership of these physical homes and the insurance of the physical home and physical possessions in it
The last 40 years has introduced us to a “digital” world that is interconnected via the internet. So we should ask ourselves the questions of what is a “digital home”. And what is the value of a digital home during the three phases of the homeowner lifecycle which are owning, selling and buying a home.
Details and Data
A digital home is a collection of all the digital data about a home. This digital data is photos, documents, videos, and information about the home and all the equipment, materials, fixtures, finishes and appliances. There are many parts and pieces of a physical home that have corresponding digital details of these assets.
Once a digital home is aggregated into a computer system, then it is valuable to a homeowner. The digital home proactively reminds homeowners of various maintenance tasks required to keep the home operating efficiently. These reminders also assist us in keeping a home safe and healthy. The digital home also ensures that the proper amount of insurance is covering those assets.
Today and Tomorrow
Homes also go through many upgrades, remodel and fix it projects. The original components of a home wear out. Or a new homeowner wants to change or add to the original structure. Keeping track of the digital data about new products, equipment and finishes during projects helps the homeowner during tax time and future re-sale opportunities.
Marketing Your Home
Imagine a homeowner who decides to sell their home, and during the marketing of their home, they could share the digital home with potential buyers online. Surveys from NAR and others say that buyers predominately start researching homes to buy using the internet. Buyers are also demanding more and more information online. As an example, look at used car sites where a lot of digital photos and a digital version of the car’s history is being used by buyers to make buying decisions.
A Seller View
From the seller’s perspective, could this digital home help sell the home for a premium price? If two of essentially the exact same homes were for sale and one had a digital home history and the other did not, would one sell for more money or sell quicker than the other.
A Buyer View
From a buyer’s perspective, would a digital home reduce the research and decision time on whether to make an offer or not? Would it help build confidence that the home has been well maintained? Would it help if the buyer got their own copy of the digital home profile to help them manage and maintain their home?
There are many industries that are going through a digital transformation. A great example of digital transformation is introducing the concept of digital health records These records are a representation of your body and all the different characteristics and test of the biological systems in it. There is a level of personalization in this data that also needs to occur with our homes. Various models of a digital home are already underway, and it will have value and transform the home and real estate markets.